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    Customer Story

    Santander Consumer Bank makes personal finance management simple with the cloud

    Budget planning is important but can be difficult. It’s not just about managing your current account, but also your savings, investments, loans, mortgage, car lease…

    And if you happen to use multiple providers for these services, keeping track of your personal finances becomes really troublesome.

    In the European Union, the PSD2 directive has come to the customers’ aid. It allows authorized third parties to access financial data from multiple organizations and aggregate them in a single service, so people can see and manage all their financial products in one place.

    This is a welcome development for many but is still to be implemented more widely. One of the Nordic banks decided to be a step ahead of the others and meet their customers’ expectations by taking advantage of this opportunity.

    Watch the video for the full story

    Who is Santander?

    Santander Consumer Bank is a Nordic division of Banco Santander, one of the world’s largest financial groups. Headquartered in Lysaker, Norway, the organization has 1,500 employees and over 1.5 m customers across Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland. The company specializes primarily in car and leisure financing. They also provide credit cards, loans, and savings products for their customers.

    As a forward-looking organization, the bank wanted to provide their customers with all the latest functionalities they expect, but without any of the inconvenience and complexity.

    Helping people take full control of their money

    The company wanted to create a native mobile application, as well as an online service for personal finance management. The aim was to provide customers with the same information and level of service, regardless of the device they were using.

    The application was named Santander Prosper. It aimed to use the possibilities granted by the PSD2 directive and allow for data collection from any service the customer chose to add.

    In the words of Oskar Karlsson, Product Manager Open Banking at Santander Consumer Bank, who was essential in bringing the application to life:

    Prosper as personal finance management can actually go beyond banking. We want to help customers make decisions that will make them better at their economy going forward.

    Bringing the teams together

    The project began with design thinking workshops with Santander’s Open Banking team, which is responsible for business innovation. They shared their business expertise, to help us better understand their customers’ needs and expectations.

    Our team helped them make their idea happen using our deep knowledge of Microsoft products and cloud. Additionally, we have a lot of experience in bringing people, tools and processes together using Agile and DevOps practices. Taking this approach allowed us to be more flexible and work closely with Santander, and incorporate and prioritize great ideas as they surfaced.

    Demo version of Prosper desktop client

    Screenshot from a demo desktop version of Prosper

    Keeping what’s personal, personal

    To create a secure product, we recommended an architecture based on Microsoft Azure. The cloud allowed us to address important challenges when it comes to creating a banking application, such as:

    • User authentication and authorization
    • High availability and scalability, allowing for uninterrupted 24/7 access
    • Automatic user data removal, i.e. deleting all customer details and related data upon request
    • Data security and encryption, both at rest and in transit.

    Using an architecture model based on microservices orchestrated by Kubernetes allowed us to fulfill these requirements. The solution featured services such as Azure Kubernetes Service, Azure Service Bus, and Azure SQL Database. For security, we incorporated Azure AD B2C and Azure Key Vault. We’ve also used Azure Application Insights for monitoring and Azure Web App for hosting.

    Getting closer to the customers

    As a result of the project, Santander Consumer Bank developed an application where all consumers in Denmark, not only Santander customers, can view their financial information and manage their finances. Users can access a variety of modules to look after their money, including:

    • Expense monitoring – users can check their spending in a selected period by reviewing categories of income and expenses
    • Budget planning – used for creating budgets and planning expenses. It allows customers to check their plans against actual spending
    • Goals – users can define financial goals and link them to a savings account to track their progress
    • Cars – allows users to add car-related information (e.g. car details, loans, categorized expenses) to get a single overview
    • Houses – similarly, useful information about users’ house-related products (mortgage, categorized expenses, building details) can be added and managed in this module.

    Prosper has also replaced the previous online banking solution, which means all customers can take advantage of the latest features. As a result, users can take complete control of their money, directly from their phone or browser.

    Demo version of Prosper mobile client

    Screenshot from a demo mobile version of Prosper

    Looking ahead

    Traditional online banking is no longer enough – personal financial management systems will now lead the way. Santander Consumer Bank is at the forefront of this change, delivering a brand-new internet bank for the Nordics.

    We will continue to improve the application because we want to provide the customers with the best experience. It’s not just about scaling up – it’s about moving forward with insights from the users themselves.
    - Oskar KarlssonProduct Manager Open Banking, Santander Consumer Bank

    By using cloud services, the bank can now easily scale up the solution if needed. Adding new components will also be fast, so the company will be able to react quickly to user feedback and new market opportunities.

    Managing personal finances can be made much simpler with technology. Companies like Santander, who dare to look ahead, try to make our daily lives can be that little bit easier, right now.

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